The Case For Mauricio Pochettino To Defy Real Madrid Interest And Commit Himself To Tottenham

Antonio Conte has admitted that his Chelsea team will find it “difficult” to qualify for the Champions League should they fail to beat Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.

But Spurs will be looking nervously over their shoulders during the run-in if the fifth-placed Blues close the gap to just two points and land a big psychological blow.

Here, Telegraph Sport assesses the implications for both clubs if they were to miss out on Champions League qualification.

The managers

Chelsea

Conte is expected to leave Stamford Bridge at the end of the season, wherever Chelsea finish, so the bigger issue is whether failure to qualify for the Champions League would impact on their search for a replacement. The likes of Luis Enrique or Thomas Tuchel are unlikely to be put off the prospect of succeeding the Italian if the Blues finish fifth, but it would probably kill off any slim hope of landing the man who would be their ideal first choice – Mauricio Pochettino. Chelsea know there is very little chance of taking Pochettino away from Spurs, but they will make a check if they pip their London rivals to fourth place.

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Antonio Conte could be on his way back to Italy this summer Credit: AP

Tottenham

Chairman Daniel Levy is hopeful of convincing Pochettino to sign a new contract and lead Spurs into their new stadium next season. Qualification for the Champions League would obviously make that easier, but the Argentine’s future is not dependent on it. Tottenham would fight any move for their manager from Chelsea, even if they finish below the Blues, while Paris Saint-Germain’s interest is not causing any major panic. An approach from Real Madrid would get Pochettino thinking, but the smart money is currently on him signing a deal and sticking around at Spurs for at least another season.

Keeping their stars

Chelsea

Thibaut Courtois is still yet to sign a new contract and will only have 12 months remaining on his deal at the end of the season. Without Champions League football, it may be hard to convince the Belgian to commit himself past his final year – even if Chelsea’s offer would make him the highest paid goalkeeper in the world. Similarly, Eden Hazard will have two years left at the end of the season and it is hard to see why he would sign a new contract or ignore interest from Real Madrid if the Blues finish outside the top four. It should, however, be noted that Chelsea kept all of their stars when they failed to qualify for Europe two years ago.

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Tottenham

Toby Alderweireld looks set to leave the club, regardless of where they finish, while doubts remain over Danny Rose’s future at the club. Mousa Dembele has also revealed that talks over a new contract will not take place before the World Cup, as he waits to assess his options. A place in the Champions League could well influence Dembele’s decision. Tottenham, though, are confident of securing Harry Kane, Dele Alli, Jan Vertonghen and Hugo Lloris to new contracts with Levy insistent that only players who Pochettino is willing to sell will leave ahead of the move into the new stadium.

New signings

Chelsea

Despite missing out on European qualification, Chelsea enjoyed a highly successful transfer window two summers ago – signing N’Golo Kante, Marcos Alonso and David Luiz who were all key to last season’s title success. Their budget is unlikely to dramatically change based on where they finish, but this will be a big summer for the Blues and they need to get it right. The World Cup and the earlier closure of the transfer window will make things even more difficult, so being able to offer players Champions League football would obviously be an advantage.

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Can Spurs change their record at Stamford Bridge?

Tottenham

Pochettino’s targets will not change depending on where Spurs finish and he already has to shop in a different market to most of his rivals, in any case. But Tottenham are desperate to land Ryan Sessegnon if Fulham are not promoted from the Championship and will have a better chance of convincing him not to go to Manchester City if they secure a top-four spot. Part of Levy compelling Pochettino to sign a new contract could be demonstrating to him that Spurs will have the sort of money it will take to remain competitive near the top. Levy operates a big bonus system at Tottenham, which means the wage structure will not change too much, regardless of Champions League qualification.

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Young players

Chelsea

Missing out on the Champions League and dropping into the Europa League could offer more chances to youngsters such as Ethan Ampadu and Callum Hudson-Odoi. It could also impact on the futures of Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Tammy Abraham who may favour going on loan for a second season and playing regular first-team football again, but could be needed to boost the squad. Chelsea have only competed in the Europa League, under its current format, once in the past when they won it in 2013. But they had dropped down from the Champions League group stages that year, meaning they have never had to plan for an entire Europa League campaign before.

Tottenham

Pochettino offered chances to the likes of Tom Carroll, Josh Onomah and Harry Winks last time Spurs were in the Europa League, so failure to qualify for the Champions League would undoubtedly open up more opportunities to some of the club’s latest youngsters such as Kyle Walker-Peters and Juan Foyth.

Source : https://sports.yahoo.com/missing-champions-league-qualification-mean-150729934.html

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